Saturday, September 29, 2018

What is on your Fall Bucket List?

September 21st was the first day of Fall and I was having dreams of crisp weather with me on the porch in a nice cuddly sweater. I live in Winnipeg Canada and guess what? It snowed! It only lasted for a couple hours but it sure was a wake-up call that Winter is just around the corner and we need to enjoy Fall while we can.
I love making plans and goal setting because it encourages me to get more done and to do new, different and interesting things. Since I love all sorts of activities it is not a surprise that the Fall bucket lists that are all over the internet absolutely get my imagination racing.
I needed to make a list of the things that I want to try this Fall.
Why would I need a list? When I look at my own list I can remember to try it and I can prioritize my fun and adventures. A list acts as a reminder of all the fun ideas that caught my eye and it also helps me watch for those opportunities when they present themselves. Perhaps I might even need to budget for it. Once I have made that list I start to see coupons, adds and stories about the different fall experiences.  I can make notes of where I can go to do these things or how to do them at home if I don't already know how. It lets me get all those fun materials, ingredients and resources together too.  I might even be able to convince some friends or family to join me!
I must admit I love checking things off lists.
I use the various lists I have found on Pinterest to make my own.  You can find lists for couples, young families or teenagers. There are personal achievement-based lists. There are silly lists. I see lots of bucket list items that appeal to me, but for some of them I do realize that particular ship has sailed. Hike the Trans Canada Trail is SOOO appealing to me but I am barely managing a hike through Wal-Mart these days. Practicality needs to be a part of my plan. A Fall trip to stay in a Bed and Breakfast in Vermont sounds awesome, as does Octoberfest in Germany but  it is certainly not in my budget for this year or next year. Besides all my vacation time was used up as part of my work absence for the Hip Replacement Surgery and recovery. 

Why these Seasonal Lists useful tools for Recreation Professionals?
Recreation Therapists must plan their month long in advance. We have to try and catch the interests and needs of the individual but we also try and carry out many programs as groups  Seasonal Bucket lists are almost like a shopping list of popular ideas. Now that doesn't mean that we are going to set up a tub for 90-year-olds to go bobbing for apples but perhaps seeing that item on a list might make us think of doing a reminiscence activity. Perhaps we can find some vintage pictures of bobbing for apples or other Party activities. Perhaps we will arrange to have some school children have a party with us. 
These lists are especially good for my Girl Guide unit too. So many of these items are perfect for the girls' outings or activities. We are all about fun and these projects are just what the girls need to make plans, show leadership and allow them to choose what is of interest to them!

My Top 25 Bucket List Ideas
  • I plan on going for a drive in the country
  • Taking fall pictures in the country
  • Visit a corn maze with Girl Guides 
  • Harvest herbs
  • Plant bulbs for spring flowers
  • Sow wildflower seeds
  • Decorate the house with mums  and Fall touches.
  • Crochet an orange scarf
  • Make scarecrow crafts
  • Buy Fall candles
  • Make a Thanksgiving centrepiece
  • Go to a paint night with my daughters
  • Sell Chocolate Mint Cookes with my Girl Guide Unit
  • Leathercraft leaf project
  • Give myself a fall coloured manicure
  • Buy new shirts for fall
  • Pumpkin pies
  • Pumpkin dip
  • Leaf shaped cookies
  • Crockpot apple cider
  • Hot chocolate by the fireplace at the lake
  • Make smores
  • Apple crisp
  • Cook some banana, pumpkin and carrot cake loaves for sharing
  • Purchase a pumpkin spice "something or others" at a coffee shop
I will try and report back about some of these items and we will see how many of these I actually manage to do! Maybe I will take advantage of other fun opportunities that we come across. List are a great framework but spontienaty is where some so the excitement comes from.

Do you have plans for any Fall projects or adventures?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Recycled Burlap & Boxes Make Useful Storage Solutions

This has been a very long summer. I finally got out to the cottage and I really wanted to keep busy but not of the more active projects were a good possibility for keeping me out of trouble. No painting the outside of the cottage? No helping with the new Dock? Sigh.  I do love crafting though and did a few projects with the grandkids one weekend and I began working on crocheting an afghan.

I have a wire rack behind the door of the washroom at the cottage. Storage is at a bit of a premium in there. Every time someone slammed a door the little sample shampoos, and extra lotions and insect repellant slid out of the side and onto the floor. My craft starved brain went wait! We can solve this!

I do like projects made from recycled material.

First, I hate to spend more money than I must and second, I am always working with groups that have few resources, so I am always stretching to find cheap, or better yet, free projects! I always look to find projects that are good looking and if possible useful.  My little question when deciding about projects for Girl Guides/ Scouts was always would the family keep this around for a couple months or does it go straight in the garbage. I also wondered "how much stuff can one family attach to a fridge?"
I thought I would try for a solution to my Washroom door slaming problem, make a way to sort out some arts and craft supplies since I was feeling particularly crafty and make a vase for extra points.

This container project is something that was common years ago with youth groups and thrifty homemakers!  It has a bit of a vintage feel but that tends to be how a lot of recycled material projects start off. Vintage is fun. What makes it more current are the colour choices and details that you choose.
It is very flexible for materials.  I was thinking of Fall at the cottage. right now, so that influenced my colour and texture choices. I am also thinking about the various places my new box containers, my new vase and my new art supplies holders are going to be displayed.

I literally dug through the weekends recycling and came up with some cans from soup and spaghetti sauce and some crackers boxes. We had some twine in the storage room and a bit of white craft glue and some extra tacky glue.  I also had a $3 roll of burlap out here because I was planning on making table decorations for a family Fall dinner or perhaps Thanksgiving dinner at the lake. There was plenty to spare.

First, I tested out my various sized boxes to find one that would fit properly on in the shelves and then I cut the height to the correct size for my location. By this point, I was all excited and planned out what to do with even more of my garbage! grin This is such a flexible project!

I was thinking about putting on a base layer of acrylic paint on my future container. I wanted to add paint to the boxes in particular to kind of seal the paper in case a little soap or lotion came off in the container  Regular acrylic paint  is not the greatest when sticking on aluminum cans so my husband Bob said he had an almost empty bottle of black spray paint and offered to just take the items outside and give them all a coat of paint on their inside and the outside. Yes!

Once the boxes were cut to size I moved on to the cans.

First, I took a metal file to the cut edges just to make sure there were no sharp edges and that nothing would catch.

Next, we got everything painted. The colour peeks out a bit from behind the twine or burlap so it is not the prominent colour you are seeing. I am in a fall mood, we have a lot of black in our cottage, and we had that left-over paint, so my colour choice was simple.  It would be fine in whatever colour you wanted to use. In the summer I would probably go with white or yellow or blue for the cottage!
Once it was dry from being painted I put a bit of tacky glue down the side of the box or the can and just wrapped it around and carefully overlapped the end where it joined up and then I used a bit of extra glue there to secure it.  That simple.

 I did line up the finished bottom edge of the burlap strip on the bottom edge of the container and I folded the excess at the top of my containers to the inside and used a lot of glue for that. I liked the look of it wrapping over on the box top edge and the height of my box worked with the width of the burlap but if the box was taller I would not have worried about wrapping it over the edge
To keep everything in place while it dried I used clothespins. - yes, I use clothespins out here. In fact, that is one of the things that are kept on that bathroom shelf.  Binder clips and the big paper clip would have been useful too if I was at home in my office.  I suggest wiggling your clips loose before it is totally dry. The glue is soaking through the fabric and holes and will attach to your clip to your box or can!

The twine wrapping project is just as easy.
I would suggest using a softer twine since some types can be quite harsh and hard on your hands. The one we had in our storage room was perfect.

Prep your containers the same way and then add a bit of glue at the starting point start (I started at the bottom) and begin wrapping, around and around and around. Add the glue on to the container as you go and try and have the glue run all the way up. It is okay if it isn't all glued down so I used just a line along the side seam of the tin can and just pushed it in place as I looped it around the rest of the can. The finishing off can be a little tricky. Try and fray the cut edge a bit so that it is a bit flatter and tuck it under the edge of the previous row. It is not cheating to use a hair dryer to speed up drying in heavy glue areas. 

I wanted to add some extra embellishments to my containers, so I tied some twine around it. There are so many things you could add like lace, ribbon or fake flowers or leaves to the side to make it extra cute.

Give this project a try!

Make it your own.  I would love it if you let me know if you try this project at home for your self, with your youth group or your seniors!


• This project is simple to do, if somewhat sticky with the glue. Consider
precutting the boxes and the burlap to the right size before doing it with your group. Give a variety of embellishments to your participants so everyone has a unique finished product. The repetitive nature of wrapping the twine
around might be very calming for some individuals. This would be challenging for people with limited use of a hand. I wonder how well double stick tape would work for getting everything in place.

• Yarn around the jars, cans or boxes does work but be aware that most kinds of yarn stretch a bit when wet. They also shrink down again as they dry. The motto of the story is to take it easy on the glue and if it is getting soggy don’t try and pull it  too tight.

• Consider this project for Earth Day!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Back to Work Plan

I returned to my part time job this past Thursday. It was a strange feeling walking back in after having been away for almost 6 months, The people sitting on the main floor were the same as usual and the rooms looked the same. I went up the elevator and into the office and all my coworkers were in the office just finishing off their work day and they gave me a warm welcome back.

I met with my supervisor for a little while and we got me set up on the computer again and talked about a few work related things. We discussed my plan for work return.
I will be working my normal days and shifts but my 8 hour days are reduced to 6 hours. 
We talked about the variety of jobs that I could do while on restrictions. It seems there aren't established guidelines for people returning to my kind of job after a total hip replacement! (not a surprise) Really, I have been through worse so I never saw this as a career ending event in my life.

The work place has an outside agency that arbitrates things like absences, and work modifications. I have had to get 5 different doctors notes through this time and this company tells my workplace if I am or am not approved for continued absence. They also take part in administering sick benefits but unfortunately for me I do not normally work enough hours to qualify for that insurance.  

My doctor approved me for return to work for this date and I am to work shifts of 4 to 6 hours for the next month. There are some movement restrictions too. I am not to lift anything heavy, sit for over half and hour, walk for over half and hour or stand for over half an hour. This is not as big a challenge in my work as it would be in many other places just by the nature of being a recreation therapist. We go through a lot of different location, movements and tasks in the course of a program and throughout the day's work.

Next I went to visit several of the residents one to one. They were so happy to see me! I was worried that I would be forgotten but they greeted me with was real warmth and happiness to see me back and I received several hugs. Most of the residents did not know I was off for health reasons and they wanted to know where I had been so I told them that I had a new hip and I was feeling better than I had in a long time and that I was glad to be back.

I am glad to be back at my job. 
In some ways it was nice to have time home with family or just stay home and relax. Work days did not determining things like when Bob and I could go places. I actually felt very frustrated at staying home as much as I had too. Pain and healing restricted what I could do but I was still pretty bored and lonely and frustrated and watched too much reality TV.
I spent more time worrying, being aware of pain and limitations and feeling unproductive and … well just wishing someone would entertain me.  It reinforces to me how important my job really is to peoples health care and overall well being.
I missed my workplace and the people there. I am still a little worried about my movement and my safely. I am still having some pain in the hip and my back but I guess that is why a modified program is a good idea. I can continue to improve and get my strength back is a safe manner while doing my job. Its a win-win situation.

I do have to admit that after only 4 hours at work I barely made it in my front door and I went straight to my bedroom and collapsed for the rest of the evening.  My stamina has really been severely affected by this whole surgery/ recovery experience.

We will see how my 6 hour shift goes on Monday!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

It has Been a Difficult Summer

I am not totally sure why I haven't posted. I think I just got overwhelmed and rather depressed post surgery and through the recovery.

I had a set back in my recovery from the hip replacement a day or so after my last post.
It would be considered a soft tissue injury but basically I had a lot of swelling in my leg and probably tore internal stitches but I really didn't do anything to over-stretch or move in an inappropriate way. I had a huge lump form below the incision with a lot of swelling followed by massive bruising. Worst was my leg hurt a lot and really just would not work. My hamstring and my glute were both involved so it was a huge step backward with me back on bed rest and using a walker. I never did get back to the hip rehab programs but instead when to a physiotherapist for the muscle problems.

My knee is still a huge problem and I talked to the surgeon about that. I qualify for a knee replacement and could have been placed on a waiting list, but he suggested we again try all the other methods for pain control that I have done in the past, but that with the hip realigned I might have some better success and treatments might last a little longer. He suggested that the surgery and recovery are much harder for a knee replacement and it would be a good idea to not rush from one surgery on top of another and give lots of time to fully recuperate.
My back is pretty sore too. I guess I have been compensating when I walk for so long (for one reason or another)r that suddenly having the hip fixed forces everything else to change yet again.

Summer has been pretty boring for the most part. I tried to do bits of activities but did not last very long.  I did not get out to the lake until basically the last weekend in July and it turned into a pretty hard to manage weekend but I do love being at the lake.

I am supposed to be returning to work this coming week and I am not sure how I feel about it. In some ways I am delighted because I do love my job and miss the residents and my coworkers and all the fun we have. At the same time I want to be physically able to do a good job and not be in pain myself. For the next month I will be returning with shorter work days and with some movement restrictions such as not standing for more than half an hour and not lifting or pushing items over 10 pounds.

I keep thinking "What the heck happened to summer?" however I have been enjoying a beautiful early fall at the lake and doing the odd crafty thing during the past couple of weeks.  I have signed up for Arthritis water therapy classes at the public pool for the fall and Girl Guides starts up next week.

Life continues.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Physiotherapy for Hip Replacement

I went to an assessment for Physiotherapy at the Reh-Fit Center in Winnipeg last week. It was a good experience and I will be going for my first group session on Tuesday. She took a thorough history and is aware that I do have asthma,  high blood pressure issues and that I do not have equal strength on both sides. I have a bit of a wonky gait from "before" but apparently everyone with severe enough issues to need a joint replacement has gait issues, so that is something else that will automatically be addressed! Yipee😊! She checked my incision which is not fully healed and said we will continue to keep an eye on it too. She sent me home with a new and improved list of exercises.

About a year ago the government started doing an overhaul of health care services. One of the cuts was the post-hip and knee surgery outpatient aftercare. The departments were closed. The physio departments remained in the hospitals for inpatient care but staff layoffs occurred.

Since that time the health authority has continued to support the pre-hab clinic. They are giving education prior to surgery to have people as ready as possible for surgery and have the best outcomes. I will post a link at the bottom of this post for more information about the hip/ knee clinic. They have a lot of very good videos about joint replacement but I would draw your attention to a video of the exercises they recommend doing during for the time you are waiting for surgery. I think it would have benefited me to have started them years ago!

The physiotherapy and occupational therapists in the hospital assess if you are safe to leave for home before discharge and they review a few of the exercises that were to have been practiced before the surgery. You are to exercise at home but the set they give you is not looking at your specific needs nor does it show how to increase and changes the exercises as you grow stronger.
They give you a prescription for further private physiotherapy but then it is in your hands.

Many people do not have a insurance beyond that of our Canadian public health care system. I have very minimal work-related health insurance.  Physio for me is largely an out of pocket expense.

Many others have been in the same situations. I am youngish for a hip replacement and many seniors older than me live on limited incomes and will not have as much help as they need to get as full a recovery as possible.

The Reh-Fit center is very conveniently located about a mile from my home and is a lovely space with great resources and highly trained staff. I have known several people who have been referred there post heart attacks and they can't say enough good things about the services. It has a charitable status and a fantastic reputation but is at a higher cost than many other places around the city.

The Reh-Fit Centre is more than a fitness centre. We provide an environment to help individuals achieve and maintain health and wellness. We offer individual and group options for exercise, nutrition, and education through a team of certified health and fitness professionals. Expert guidance from professional personnel, innovative health enhancement programs, and the integration of medical, rehabilitative, and fitness services all are delivered in a clean, service-oriented environment.

The Reh-Fit Centre has been offering post hip and knee replacement programming for members who are 6 months or more post surgery for a few years now. I noticed several months ago, after the withdrawal of our hospital-based rehab, that they were offering a knee replacement program for the immediate post-surgery period but not for hips. After I got home from the hospital an ad popped up in my social media feed about the new hip program so I called them up.

They launched the new program in mid-May!  They do not require membership and they enroll people between 1 and 2 weeks post surgery. I just plain old got lucky with this one! They do an initial assessment by a physiotherapist for about $70 (possibly covered by your private medical coverage) and then you can continue with weekly group sessions with a physiotherapist, a kinesiologist and possibly a volunteer. The groups can be up to 10 people, last an hour and all this for only $20 a visit.
After they feel you are no longer benefitting from this program they will encourage you toward other programs to help with your continued improvement.

We will see how this all goes tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

My Hip Replacement Surgery

The surgery was 19 days ago and I have had a chance to relax and reflect on the experience. I am home and my new hip is amazing and working very well. The pain is so much less than before the surgery and I am feeling better all the time.

I was pretty tense beforehand.. let's call it panicked.
I  had bad, life-threatening experiences in the hospital as a kid.
It was also very much on my mind that my hip surgery was occurring at 10 years to the day from when I was admitted to the hospital, hemorrhaging and with a pulmonary embolism in my lungs - and my life changed forever.

I kept thinking I can still change my mind - this is an elective procedure. The fact is that  I can not imagine living the rest of my life in the kind of pain and disability that I have been experiencing. I have fought too hard to regain my independence to have it slowly disappear on me once again.

They try to have patients well prepared for hip surgery. Patients have gone to these Regional health authority hip and knee clinic orientation meeting, met with appropriate therapists from the center and have an appointment with their surgeon. We received a 50 something page booklet to read that should answer most questions.

The week before surgery patients went to the hospital where they are having your surgery and have meetings with the anesthesiologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and a nurse. Blood pressure is checked and they do one last x-ray of the knee or hip. You get another booklet outlining what time you personally need to be at the hospital when you are last allowed to eat or take medications, a map of the place and a list of what you should or should not pack for your stay. There is a caregiver pamphlet with where to park and what the person accompanying the patient needs to do.

I have a LOT of allergies and because of past experience, I was concerned about that aspect of the surgery and was not feeling as prepared as we could be.  It did indeed turn into a problem with me trying to convince people of the severity of the reactions I can have to medication. Fortunately, the pain management nurse at the hospital actually contacted my allergists' office and got a written report about what medications I can have. I can say without a doubt that woman made a huge difference in the safe and successful management of my care.
There were still a lot of problems with pain management and even greater problems with finding a way to send me home with something for pain relief.

Lilacs and early summer flowers are not my friends. I have severe allergy-induced asthma,  I have wound up at the doctor or in the emergency at least 5 times during that last two weeks of May  This is a bad time for surgery. I wound up having three asthma attacks while in the hospital and one of them was probably the scariest close call I can remember. I am sure that besides the seasonal allergies I was reacting to some of the sanitation chemicals used to clean in the hospital and I suspect just the effect of the surgery on a body as well as the effects of the pain medication on breathing added up to a horrible mix of conditions.

The days blurred together with pain, narcotics, sponge baths and nurses coming in and out. Meals were ummm nourishing. The staff was all very kind and nice to me.

My family were there for me and kept me company and helped in any way they could.

I got along well with my roommate who had a knee replacement and I feel lucky to have shared this experience with her and shared her company.

Physiotherapists came each day to make sure I was starting to move a bit and getting me standing as soon as possible. They have to make sure you can get in and out of bed safely, stand up and use a bathroom and if needed make sure you can safely go up the number of stairs required so you can get into your home upon discharge.

My hospital bed.
The Walker.

My poor leg.

I just have to share the view from my second-floor hospital window. Talk about patriotic!
It was actually very soothing and meditative to lie in bed and watch the flag moving in the breeze.

My recovery now continues at home. I am doing the hospital based exercises and trying to move around the best I can.  Next, I will be starting a brand new post-surgery rehab program at a facility called the Reh-Fit Center.

My goal is to be Leading a Healthy Life!

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